sex

There's a new kind of porn on the rise, and it might just constitute cheating.

“That time I trialled virtual reality porn” wasn’t a sentence I thought I’d write, like, ever. I’m no prude, nor am I the opposite of that. (What is the opposite of that?)

To be frank, it just wasn’t on my radar.

And then like the good employee I am, some months ago when my editor sent me to Sexpo, I nodded my head, picked up a pen, notepad and headed in. No-one, I soon realised, walks into Sexpo with a pen and notepad. You can probably imagine why.

Within moments, my moment with virtual reality porn was upon me. A kind stranger threw some robot-like, futuristic glasses on my head and before long I found myself in the thick of a porn scene. Amongst it. Around it. In it. Whatever you want to call it.

And it was… interesting, if not a little confronting.

Virtual reality porn, which generates realistic images, sounds and other sensations that replicate a real environment, made me feel like I was in a sex scene. Which would be fine if it didn’t make me feel a little bit like a pervert.

So with virtual reality porn cracking into the adult industry and it’s use increasing more and more with time, how will couples, and singles, navigate its rise?

According to Michelle Flynn, founder of Lightsouthern cinema and producer of adult film, virtual reality porn is nothing more than a “diverse” and “alternative” way to watch porn that’s “far more realistic”.

“Creating virtual reality porn allows us to try to have a fun with sex, stay away from mainstream tropes and not take ourselves too seriously. It means we have more flexibility to show diverse sexuality, and often make it far more female friendly.

“We can make porn from the perspective of a female. No-one else is doing that,” she tells Mamamia.

A woman who may or may not be watching porn. Image: iStock.

Virtual reality porn isn't without its supporters, too. When Stuart Heritage reviewed the experience for The Guardian he wrote that VR porn could "bring out world peace".

Blatant hyperbole aside, he makes a valid point.

"I think VR porn may serve a greater purpose. If everyone sat down, popped some goggles on and saw what it was like for someone of a different gender or sexuality to have sex, our shared empathy would go through the roof," he wrote at the time.

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Despite this, there are concerns about the addictive nature of the product. If normal bread and butter porn is addictive in and of itself, surely this takes on a life of its own?

A quick browse and online forums like Your Brain on Porn make it clear that many-a-user struggle with VR porn's addictive nature. For Michelle Flynn, it might be a potential side-effect of what she believes is a revolutionary product, but it's also not her job to monitor that.

"It's not my responsibility to moderate your porn intake," she tells Mamamia. "It is a natural extension from normal porn and the adult industry needed something new."

inside a sexless marriage
Image: iStock.

For Flynn, it might be the catalyst the industry needed to get people to actually pay for porn. And she notes it can have a place everywhere: from the bedroom to sexual education to helping with sexual health. People with disabilities can experience something they never have before.

I'm interested in how couples will work VR porn into their relationship. A quick survey of the Mamamia office had many saying they would be more than uncomfortable about their partner using it. So does it count as cheating? Well, that depends on how high-quality the scenario is, some say.

Sex therapist and clinic psychologist Dr. Janet Hall has her reservations about how VR porn can impact the foundations of a relationship, but not so much about how addictive it may or may not be. After all, she says, we can get addicted to anything.

LISTEN: A pornstar shares the household items you can use to spice up your sex life. (Post continues...)

"Humans are meant to be making love with humans, and it's more than just a mechanical-this-goes-into-that," she tells Mamamia.

"VR Porn isn't about deep communication or about spirit or heart. It might be an easy fix, but to get dependent on that material could be could limiting."

Despite acknowledging "it's still early days", Dr. Hall says it has " the potential to be quite problematic".

Whether it actually does become a problem? Well, that's entirely up to you.

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